One of the most interesting aspects about being an observer in this particular time and place in the history of marketing is watching the continuous cycle of innovation, experimentation, and maturity.
The dynamics of our age are unprecedented and exciting.
For example, let’s say we were in the 1970s. In that entire decade, what innovation caused us to re-think marketing strategy? There was probably one in the entire ten-year-period: the emergence of cable TV. If you compare it to what we face today, it really re-defines what marketing is all about, doesn’t it? We need a core competency in the ability to effectively assess the relevancy of a technological innovation and rapidly reject it or deploy it.
Another advantage we have today as marketers is the wave upon wave of data coming at us to help us make these decisions. One interesting data point emerged last week that was the catalyst for a much-needed conversation — what are the boundaries of inbound marketing?
The data point was a public filing revealing that HubSpot — which defined the term “inbound marketing” — is still hemorrhaging money after eight years and its sales and marketing costs are arguably higher than what would be expected from a “traditional” approach. On the surface, this would seem to break the inbound promise.
Or does it?
The boundaries of inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a concept that certainly should be reaching some level of maturity by now. The strategy works, in most cases. But the revelation from Hubspot provokes the question … does it work everywhere, and for how long?
In our latest Marketing Companion podcast Tom Webster and I dissect this issue, starting with the fact that inbound marketing might mean different things to different companies based on industry structure and size. Let’s hold this trend up to a strong light and take a look at the possible boundaries of inbound marketing.
- Does content marketing work in a highly-competitive space?
- Is content marketing as efficient as we think?
- Should the goal of inbound be leads, relationships, or both? Is that possible?
- Hubspot shows that you also need traditional sales and advertising tactics. What is the balance? What can we learn from this?
- Do quarterly sales goals and the financial responsibilities to shareholders inhibit the potential of content marketing?
- Is there an eventual diminishing return to content marketing and how do we anticipate that?
Ready to learn more? Here we go:
Resources mentioned in this podcast
Tom’s blog on the Hubspot earnings announcement Is Inbound Marketing Profitable or Simply a Slogan?
Z.E.R.O.: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model by Joseph Jaffe
Marcus Sheridan’s idea about Content Saturation Index
Other Ways to Listen to this Podcast:
Click on this link to listen to Episode 32
Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Simon Harrod